For cities around the world, bike sharing means good business

Summary:Bike-sharing gains traction in American cities, as its model has proved successful around the world.

America has long lagged behind other developed countries when it comes to commuter biking. Indeed, in a recent ranking of the world's 20 most bike-friendly cities, not one American city made the list.

But in just one week, the U.S. has taken two large strides to narrow that gap. On Monday, New York City inaugurated the country's largest bike-sharing program, introducing 6,000 bikes onto the city's crowded streets. By the end of the program's second day, the program's members had ridden a collective 32,265 miles since the initiative's launch.

A mere two days later, another major U.S. city joined in on the bike-sharing craze. On Wednesday, Chicago kicked off the membership drive for Divvy Bikes, a sharing system that will provide 4,000 bikes and is set to launch later this summer.

New York and Chicago are only the most recent - and largest - American cities to create bike-share programs. They join cities including Washington, D.C., Arlington, VA, Boston, MA, and Chattanooga, TN. With some earlier community bike-sharing programs, free bikes often resulted in stolen bikes. But many newer programs are based on Paris' bike-sharing system (started in 2007), whose convenience, efficiency, and reasonable prices created a system - and a business model - that has proven successful in a growing list of more than 300 cities and towns around the world.

In New York, corporate sponsor Citibank paid $41 million to give the Citi Bikes program its name. The program charges $95 for annual memberships, $10 for 24-hour passes, and $25 for 7-day access. Though some have criticized the price tag for annual usage, the program drew 772 new annual members in its first day and 2,926 in its second.

Good business indeed.

Photo: Citi Bike NYC

via [Forbes]

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

Topics: Innovation

About

Contributing Editor Channtal Fleischfresser has worked for The Economist, WNET/Channel 13, Al Jazeera English, Wall Street Journal and Associated Press. She holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She is based in New York. Follow her on Twitter. Full Bio

zdnet_core.socialButton.googleLabel Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.